On 11 January 2019 at 10:15 Signe Ivask will defend her doctoral thesis “The role of routines, demands and resources in work stress among Estonian journalists” in the Council of the Institute of Social Studies.
Kadri Ugur (PhD), University of Tartu
Professor Tamara Witschge (PhD), University of Groningen, Netherlands
The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to analyze and map out job demands and resources, routines and stress in the news production process of Estonian journalists. Another aspect that is investigated in this dissertation is professional feedback and feedforward. To investigate aspects that support or cause stress among journalists, job demands-resources theory is being implemented.
Different researchers in journalism studies have said that journalism is in a state of flux for a quite some time now. Technological changes have had influence on job demands and tasks in journalism (and other areas as well). Another topic of discussion in journalism is the collapse of old business model and the search of a new one. Journalists have to carry out an important task of distributing valid information about societal processes despite these changes.
I used quantitative and qualitative methods in my dissertation, which provided me both general information as well as more detailed insight into journalists' job, stress, demands and resources.
Due to the changes in newsrooms, journalists lacked efficient routines. Efficient routines mean that journalists are capable of operating between different mediums with ease, while also taking into account the different demands of mediums, but all in all avoiding distress or accumulation of it.
Journalists in newsrooms admitted that diverse technological skills are resources. This also led to another finding that journalists with different age and experience face different kinds of stressors and demands: younger less experienced journalists operate on different mediums and face distress because of the workload; older more experienced journalists lack efficient technological skills, which in turn could cause job insecurity.
Job demand-resource theory brings out feedback as a very important resource that helps the worker to adapt to changes and develop professionally. My studies indicated a lack of professional feedback and feedforward in the newsrooms. Web-statistics could be taken as feedback, but this kind of feedback lacks information that the journalists could use for learning and developing professionally.